Volkswagen warns of slowing global auto markets

Business News

FILE – In this Oct. 5, 2015 file photo the VW sign of Germany’s car company Volkswagen is displayed at the building of a company’s retailer in, Berlin, Germany. Diesels bought back by Volkswagen during its emissions-cheating scandal are trickling back into the marketplace after being brought up to emissions standards. Bargain hunters may be intrigued by the high fuel economy and refreshed warranties of these fun-to-drive used diesels. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen says its profits jumped 44% in the third quarter thanks to a more profitable mix of vehicles in its lineup but warned that global car markets are slowing more than expected and lowered its forecast for annual sales.

After-tax profit rose to 3.98 billion euros ($4.42 billion) as revenues rose 11% to 61.42 billion. The sales margin of 7.8% exceeded the goal of 6.5-7.5% as vehicles bringing higher profits took a larger share of sales.

The Wolfsburg-based automaker pointed to the headwinds facing the industry by saying that it expects “vehicle markets will contract faster than previously anticipated in many regions of the world.”

It said sales would be “on a level” with last year’s record of 10.8 million vehicles. Previously it had expected a slight increase. The company said its profits would be in the lower end of its forecast range.

Global automakers are facing a slowdown in sales amid disputes over trade and from pressure in the European Union and China to develop and sell low-emission vehicles that require heavy investment in new technology.

Ford and Renault have issued profit warnings in recent days, while Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars, lost money in the second quarter and is expected to outline a cost-cutting strategy for investors on Nov. 14.

Volkswagen is leading the push into electric vehicles in Europe by launching its ID.3 battery-powered compact car at prices it says will make zero local emission vehicles a mass phenomenon. The company was able to increase earnings in the quarter despite an 18% rise in spending on research and development.

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